All season, the only real chance that Lakers fans got to see what Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum looked like playing at the same time was on NBA 2K11. Because Phil Jackson almost never ran that lineup out there — 2:30 for the entire season. Total.
But with the season on the line — down 0-2 to the Dallas Mavericks heading into Game 3 Friday night — and Ron Artest out suspended, Jackson is going to his literally big three.
Lamar Odom said he would be starting for Artest (beside Gasol and Bynum), although Jackson declined to be specific, according to Lakers.com. This is Phil Jackson, what actually happens when the ball goes up may have no resemblance to what was said pregame. But as of now it looks like Odom starts, not Matt Barnes or Shannon Brown as had been expected.
This does some interesting things to the matchups.
It gives the Lakers options in dealing with Dirk Nowitzki, who has been the best player in this series. Odom has had more success as a defender on him than Gasol.
On offense, this moves Kobe to more of a wing attack position, where bringing help defenders could be harder, notes Darius from Forum Blue & Gold. Kobe has gotten just one shot at the rim in two games, this could give him more room to attack (if his ankle can support it). It also pretty much forces Dallas to guard Kobe with Kidd.
Look for Dallas to counter with Peja Stojakovic early — force Odom to come out and defend him at the arc, spreading the floor.
This is going to be one fascinating game.